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Week One Legislative Report: 373 bills introduced in the first week of the 2018 Regular Session

The Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Alabama.

Contributed by Beth Marietta Lyons
Lyons Law Firm

The Alabama Legislature began its annual Regular Session on Tuesday, January 9. As the annual Session is limited by law to 30 session days within a 105 calendar day period, the Session must conclude by April 23, 2018.

After convening at noon on Tuesday and conducting general business relating to the opening of the Session, both Houses recessed for the Governor’s annual State of the State address Tuesday evening. Initiatives referenced in the Governor’s speech were pay raises for education (2.5 percent) and state employees (3 percent), more money for the Department of Corrections to improve mental health care and hire more correction officers, and improving broadband access throughout the state.

On Wednesday, committee meetings were held, and both Houses reconvened on Thursday to receive the bills which were reported favorably from committee and conduct general business.

There were 373 bills introduced during the week. 14 committees met to consider multiple bills.

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, January 16 for day 3 of the Session with the House convening at 1:00 p.m. and the Senate at 2:00 p.m. Twenty-five committees have scheduled meetings as of the time of this report.

2018 is an election year for all Constitutional officers and all members of the legislature as well as various local races. Party qualifying opened on this past Monday and will end at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 9. The Party Primaries will be held on Tuesday, June 5 with the Run-Off on Tuesday, July 17, and the General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 6.

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All candidates are barred from soliciting or receiving campaign contributions until February 5. Alabama law in general prohibits campaign contributions during the Legislative Session unless it is within 120 days before the Primary Election. The 120 days prior to the June primary results in the February 5 date.

SIGNIFICANT INTRODUCTIONS THIS WEEK:

A bill was introduced in both Houses that would amend the Simplified Sellers Use Tax Program. This would allow online sellers, even when they have a retail sales facility in the state, to participate in the program [HB110 by Representative Rod Scott and SB130 by Senator Trip Pittman].

A bill was introduced in both Houses that would prohibit municipalities from regulating transportation network companies (Uber, Lyft) and provide for permitting and licensing by the Public Service Commission [HB190 by Representative David Faulkner and SB143 by Senator Bobby Singleton].

A bill was introduced in the House that would provide that a retired firefighter who is diagnosed with cancer that is considered an occupational disease would receive supplemental insurance coverage or reimbursement of expenses for medical treatment. The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee [HB41 by Representative Tommy Hanes].

A bill was introduced in the House that would require previously exempt faith-based child care facilities to be licensed by the Department of Human Resources and meet standard safety requirements. The bill is pending in the House Children and Senior Advocacy Committee [HB76 by Representative Pebblin Warren].

A bill was introduced in the House that would authorize Class 2 municipalities (Mobile) to provide for the abatement and removal of inoperable motor vehicles on private property under certain circumstances. The bill is pending in the House Mobile County Legislation Committee [HB127 by Representative Adline Clarke].

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A bill was introduced in the House that would authorize a county to use warrant funds on public facilities owned by a municipality located within the county. The bill is pending in the House County and Municipal Government Committee [HB148 by Representative Randy Davis].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would authorize carrying or possessing a firearm without a permit in automobiles and certain other locations. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee [SB3 by Senator Gerald Allen].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would authorize a county commission to call for a referendum on the levy of an excise tax, for a period not to exceed five years, on gasoline and diesel fuel, not to exceed five cents per gallon, for road and bridge projects identified by the county prior to the referendum. The bill is pending in the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee [SB89 by Senator Arthur Orr].

A bill was introduced in the House that would require the state, a county, a municipality or a local board of education to sell at public auction or transfer to the Alabama Land Bank Authority any building owned by such that is unused and has been uninhabited for not less than two years. The bill is pending in the House State Government Committee [HB95 by Representative Jack (JD) Williams].

A bill was introduced in both Houses that would reestablish the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) [HB1 by Representative Tommy Hanes and SB2 by Senator Shay Shelnutt].

A bill was introduced in both Houses that would require all non-volunteer fire departments to install diesel exhaust systems in fire station buildings within a certain time frame and under certain conditions [HB7 by Representative Tommy Hanes and SB4 by Senator Rusty Glover].

A bill was introduced in both Houses that would revise some of the procedures related to the Alabama Disaster Recovery Program [HB56 by Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter and SB43 by Senator Greg Albritton].

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A bill was introduced in both Houses that would create the Association of Former Members of the Alabama Legislature whose purpose would be to cooperatively promote public service and strengthen representative democracy and our republican form of government [HB93 by Representative Jack (JD) Williams and SB110 by Senator Greg Reed].

A bill was introduced in the House that would allow a municipal governing body to opt out of the requirements of the Memorial Preservation Act passed in the 2017 Regular Session. The bill is pending in the House State Government Committee [HB15 by Representative Juandalynn Givan].

A bill was introduced in the House that would repeal the Memorial Preservation Act of 2017. The bill is pending in the House State Government Committee [HB16 by Representative Juandalynn Givan].

A bill was introduced in the House that would exempt the gross proceeds from the sale of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion, and money from sales and use tax in the state for five years. The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means Education Committee [HB19 by Representative Ron Johnson].

A bill was introduced in the House that would abolish boards, commissions, committees, task forces and authorities that are inactive or inoperable. The bill is pending in the House Boards, Agencies and Commission Committee [HB22 by Representative Chris Pringle].

A bill was introduced in the House that would provide that a person is not criminally liable for using physical or deadly force in self-defense or in the defense of another on the premises of a church. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee [HB34 by Representative Lynn Greer].

A bill was introduced in the House that would require abortion providers to provide a woman seeking an abortion with certain information prior to performing an abortion. The bill is pending in the House Health Committee [HB52 by Representative Kerry Rich].

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A bill was introduced in the House that would allow the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court to temporarily assign a circuit or district judge to another circuit to address court congestion and backlog of cases. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee [HB68 by Representative Jim Hill].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was filed in the House that would establish an Alabama Lottery with the proceeds being used to fund scholarships. The bill is pending in the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee [HB112 by Representative Craig Ford].

A bill was introduced in the House that would allow teachers in grades K through 12 to use the Bible and other scripture to instruct students on religious history and other subjects. The bill is pending in the House Education Policy Committee [HB114 by Representative Lynn Greer].

A bill was introduced in the House that would require a person over the age of 21 convicted of sex offenses against a child 12 years of age or younger to be chemically castrated, at the offender’s expense, before being released from custody. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee [HB116 by Representative Steve Hurst].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the House that would require any vacancy in the State Legislature, with less than 2 years remaining on the term of office, to be filled by appointment of the Governor and would prohibit the appointed person from running for the office at the next regular election. The bill is pending in the House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee [HB123 by Representative Victor Gaston].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the House that would authorize the display of the Ten Commandments on state or public property but would prohibit the expenditure of public funds in defense of the constitutionality of this amendment. The bill is pending in the House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee [HB144 by Representative Arnold Mooney].

A bill was introduced in the House that would authorize the display of the national motto “In God We Trust” in or on any public building or public school in the state. The bill is pending in the House Committee on State Government [HB145 by Representative Arnold Mooney].

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A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the House that would exempt the state from the observance of daylight saving time. The bill is pending in the House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee [HB185 by Representative Tommy Hanes].

A bill was introduced in the House that would create an exception that would allow the surviving spouse of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, rescue squad member, or certain volunteer firefighters, killed in the line of duty to continue to receive benefits for life, even after remarriage, and would extend benefits to a surviving minor child until the age of majority. The bill is pending in the House State Government Committee [HB192 by Representative Matt Fridy].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would exempt the renaming of public schools from the Memorial Preservation Act of 2017. The bill is pending in the Senate Education and Youth Affairs Committee [SB11 by Senator Dick Brewbaker].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the Senate that would require that vacancies in the Alabama House and Senate be filled by appointment of the Governor if there are less than 2 years remaining on the term of office at the time the vacancy occurs. The bill is pending in the Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections Committee [SB15 by Senator Rusty Glover].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would provide for the availability of stem cell treatment options for certain patients with terminal illnesses or severe chronic illnesses under certain conditions. The bill is pending in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee [SB16 by Senator Gerald Allen].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the Senate that would establish the Governor appointed position of Director of Education in lieu of the State Superintendent of Education and create a Board of Counsel appointed by the Director of Education in lieu of the elected State Board of Education. The bill is pending in the Senate Education and Youth Affairs Committee [SB24 by Senator Greg Albritton].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would, without a Constitutional Amendment, establish the Governor appointed position of Director of Education in lieu of the State Superintendent of Education and create a Board of Counsel appointed by the Director of Education in lieu of the elected State Board of Education. The bill is pending in the Senate Education and Youth Affairs Committee [SB25 by Senator Greg Albritton].

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A bill was introduced in the Senate that would authorize a municipal court judge to remit court costs where it is determined a defendant cannot afford to pay the full amount and remove the authority of a mayor to commute sentences. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee [SB34 by Senator Cam Ward].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would provide for the voluntary transfer of a case from municipal court to the county district or circuit court when the defendant qualifies for a pretrial diversion program, mental health court, veteran court or similar program. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee [SB37 by Senator Cam Ward].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would provide that a municipality may authorize a law enforcement officer to issue a summons and complaint in lieu of custodial arrest for misdemeanors and violations. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee [SB41 by Senator Cam Ward].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would require the Land Commissioner to contract with a qualified auction company to sell at public auction lands, except lands in jurisdictions that have adopted expedited quiet title laws, which were sold for taxes and have not been redeemed within five years from the date the land was sold. The bill is pending in the Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee [SB47 by Senator Trip Pittman].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would extend, until 2022, income tax credits for homeowners and businesses who participate in neighborhood revitalization projects through Neighborhood Infrastructure Authorities. The bill is pending in the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee [SB49 by Senator Trip Pittman].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would provide for the disposal of abandoned or derelict vessels. The bill is pending in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee [SB50 by Senator Trip Pittman].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would allow the taking of whitetail deer or feral swine by means of bait. The bill is pending in the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee [SB61 by Senator Gerald Dial].

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A bill was introduced in the Senate that would establish the Alabama Road and Bridge Rehabilitation and Improvement Authority to establish a local and state program for financing the rehabilitation and Improvement of roads and bridges with the debt obligations paid solely from the proceeds from additional gasoline and diesel fuel excise taxes and registration fees on certain alternative fuel vehicles. The bill is pending in the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee [SB86 by Senator Gerald Dial].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the Senate that would remove the Lt. Governor as the president of the Senate, and provide that the sole duty of the Lt. Governor would be to succeed the Governor upon his removal from office. The bill is pending in the Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections Committee [SB88 by Senator Gerald Dial].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would prohibit the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board from increasing the mark-up on the sale of alcoholic beverages except by a law enacted by the Legislature. The bill is pending in the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee [SB120 by Senator Bill Holtzclaw].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the Senate that would limit State Senators and Representatives from serving more than 3 consecutive terms of office. The bill is pending in the Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections Committee [SB127 by Senator Bill Hightower].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would allow capital defendants to be executed by nitrogen hypoxia if lethal injection is unavailable or the defendant so chooses, and allow a capital defendant to elect to serve a sentence of life without the possibility of parole in lieu of the sentence of death. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee [SB128 by Senator Trip Pittman].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would require the Governor to set an election to fill a vacancy in the office of US Senator within a specified time frame. The bill is pending in the Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections Committee [SB129 by Senator Trip Pittman].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would allow for the sale of alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption in specified community development districts in certain circumstances. The bill is pending in the Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee [SB146 by Senator Steve Livingston].

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A bill was introduced in both Houses that would eliminate separate Primary Election ballots, except for the office of President of the US, placing all candidates, including independent candidates, on one ballot with the two candidates receiving the most votes, regardless of party, being placed on the ballot for the General Election. The bill is pending in the Senate Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee [HB 193 by Representative A.J. McCampbell and SB164 by Senator Bobby Singleton].

SIGNIFICANT COMMITTEE ACTION THIS WEEK:

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee gave favorable reports to several Sunset bills which continue various state boards, agencies and commissions. Among the bills considered were bills to extend the State Pilotage Commission, the Sickle Cell Oversight and Regulatory Commission, the State Oil and Gas Board and the Elevator Safety Review Board.

The House State Government Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would require the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue to convene the first meeting of the Alabama Land Bank Authority Board and allow the Board to obtain the state’s interest in real property acquired as a result of its sale for delinquent state taxes and retained in the state’s inventory for a period of five or more years [HB54 by Representative Ron Johnson].

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would abolish the requirement that a marriage license be issued by the judge of probate; instead the marriage would be entered into by contract which would be recorded with the judge of probate following execution. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB13 by Senator Greg Albritton].

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would allow qualified retired law enforcement officers to carry firearms in certain designated places where firearms are otherwise not allowed except by active law enforcement officers. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB27 by Senator Jimmy Holley].

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would decrease the maximum amount of unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 14 weeks. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB92 by Senator Arthur Orr].

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The Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections Committee and the House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections gave favorable reports to bills that would require the Governor to appoint a person to fill a vacancy in the US Senate and schedule an election at the next regularly scheduled General Election instead of calling a Special Election [SB18 by Senator Gerald Dial and HB17 by Representative Steve Clouse].

The House Insurance Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would authorize the Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound and its affiliated local centers to participate in the Local Government Health Insurance Program. The bill now goes to the full House [HB48 by Representative Kerry Rich].

A House Insurance Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would require a right-of-redemption claim be exercised no later than one year after the date of foreclosure. The bill now goes to the full House [HB90 by Representative Kerry Rich].

THE BUDGETS

The General Fund Budget, HB156 sponsored by Rep. Steve Clouse, is pending in the House Ways & Means General Fund Committee.

The Education Trust Fund budgets, HB175 by Rep. Poole and SB165 by Sen. Orr, are pending the House Ways and Means Education Committee and the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee, respectively.

SUMMARY

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  • House Bills Introduced: 202
  • Senate Bills Introduced: 171
  • Total Bills Introduced: 373
  • Bills Passed: 0
  • Bills Enacted: 0
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